Ex-UN nuclear watchdog chief and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei ended his candidacy for the Egyptian presidency on Saturday, noting he could not run because there is still no real democracy in the country. "My conscience does not allow me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless there is real democracy," ElBaradei said in a statement cited by AFP.
According to him, there was no room for him in Egyptian politics because old symbols of the regime were still running the country. "I have examined the best ways of serving the goals of the revolution and I found that there is no official post for me, not even the presidency.
"Preparations are being made to elect a president before the establishment of a constitution that would organise relations among the (judicial, executive and legislative) powers and protect liberties," he said.
He hailed the revolutionary youths but said "the former regime did not fall." "No decision was taken to purify state institutions, particularly state media and the judiciary, of symbols of the old regime," said ElBaradei.
He compared the revolution to a boat and charged that "the captains of the vessel ... are still treading old waters, as if the revolution did not take place." He added corruption was still rife. "We all feel that the former regime did not fall," he said.
There where similar reactions to his decision by the other potential candidates. Dr. Ayman Nour, a likely candidate for president and founder of the Ghad (tomorrow) party said the decision of ElBaradei to withdraw was "shocking" and slap in the face of the military junta and its policies.
Amr Moussa the former Secretary General of the Arab League had expressed regret for the withdrawal of ElBaradei to run for the presidency. He said he hoped ElBaradei's efforts for Egypt will continue, together with the efforts of all Egyptians who seek to rebuild the country.
Subahi Hamdeen, the founder of Karama Party, stated that ElBaradei is a national value and that no one can deny the important role he had played in the battle to change the Mubarak regime.
Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, expressed regret after learning the decision of the withdrawal by ElBaradei of the presidential race.